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Mortgage broking giant’s share price plunges 91 per cent in a year

Mortgage broking giant Countrywide’s share price has suffered further falls over the past week, taking the total decline to 91 per cent year-on-year.

The company has seen shares plunge from 158.50p a year ago to just 14.26p today.

In the past three months alone the group has seen around £200m wiped off its stock market value, according to Bloomberg.

It has issued four profit warnings over the past eight months and last week sought to raise £140m in a massively discounted share issue.

Credit Suisse this week upgraded Countrywide’s rating from “underperform” to “neutral”, but cut its target price and earnings estimates.

The company made a pre-tax loss of £206m in the first six months of the year, compared to a profit of £500,000 last year.

Countrywide claims to be the largest single mortgage brokerage and also owns the network Mortgage Intelligence.

Its valuations arm, Countrywide Surveying Services, says it manages panels for the majority of UK mortgage lenders.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould says: “Mixed macroeconomic news, in the form of an eighth straight year-on-year declines in mortgage applications, is not helping sentiment, while a second interest rate hike in a decade and uncertainty over Brexit are additional complications for the company, where weak trading and a plunge in profits have had a magnified effect owing to its debts.”

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Laith Khalaf adds: “Financial metrics are moving in the wrong direction at Countrywide with sales falling and debt rising.”

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